Speak Lord: Broken with us

Santa Croce crucifix

The Psalm for Palm Sunday draws us into an articulation of the agony of Christ – a physical, emotional and psychic agony. It is also a psalm that finds its end in a confession of faith and an assurance of community and communion in God.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

All who see me deride me.
They curl their lips, they toss their heads.
‘He trusted in the Lord, let him save him;
let him release him if this is his friend.’

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Many dogs have surrounded me,
a band of the wicked beset me.
They tear holes in my hands and my feet
I can count every one of my bones.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

They divide my clothing among them.
They cast lots for my robe.
O Lord, do not leave me alone,
my strength, make haste to help me!

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

I will tell of your name to my brethren
and praise you where they are assembled.
‘You who fear the Lord give him praise;
all sons of Jacob, give him glory.
Revere him, Israel’s sons.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Psalm 21:8-9,17-20,23-24

The Lord who suffers for us, also serves us as model for dealing with our sufferings.

It is our whole self, and all our experiences, that we are invited to bring to our fellowship with him in this coming week, this Holy Week.

Crucifix based on the image in the Holy Shroud. Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Rome. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

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Taste and See: the nearness of the Lord

The shroud

The Second reading at Mass on Sunday, the 5th Sunday of Lent, is one great assurance from Paul that his life finds its entire meaning from Christ – Christ is to be his entire future; the challenge and joy of his present, and the trajectory on which his past – what was good in it and what bad – has launched him.

I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

For him I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him. I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law, but I want only the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith.

All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death. That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you my brothers, I am far from thinking that I have already won.

All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upwards to receive in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:8-14

Next week – beginning on Palm Sunday – we have the opportunity of spending quality time with the Lord.

Of course the Lord is with us always and everywhere, for nothing can separate us from him. But in the Liturgy of Holy Week we have the privilege of being drawn into extended times of contemplation and adoration of him in the peak moments of his public ministry – in the events of the Last Supper, of the Passion, of the time amongst the dead and in the glory of the Resurrection.

 

Image from the Shroud. (Taken from replica on display at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Rome). (c) 2016, Allen Morris.